Against a backdrop of palm trees and sparkling blue ocean, a lot of work has to somehow get done at Kidscreen Summit in Miami next week. Many people are attending for the first time and many more are returning, so to give you all some insider intel on how to make the most of the experience, Greg Childs, editorial director of the Children’s Media Conference in the UK (which is sending 85 companies and freelancers to Kidscreen Summit this year), and Sarah Baynes, deputy chair of CMC’s conference advisory committee and head of consulting service The Creative Garden, share their best advice for surviving the event.
Their tips are based on years of attending Kidscreen Summit in both New York and Miami, and many other industry markets and conferences.
Tip 1—When asked to write an article for Kidscreen, make sure you have a fun and alliterative headline. It’s a killer opening and it also explains why you were rejected for that job as a journalist.
Tip 2—The good sessions are packed; get in early. Then sit in the middle of the row, not the end. This will make you look important and relaxed, like you have all the time in the world. Not like those poor people who have to sit on the end in case they have to duck out to take a vital call. You are too special for calls; you have people to take your calls. But seriously, the real reason: It means latecomers can get a seat without causing chaos.
Tip 3—The organizers are magicians; be nice to them. The Kidscreen crew is amazing, and no one knows better than another event organizer what it takes to put it all together. Avoid the temptation to explain to them how to improve the coffee station offerings while they stare into the middle-distance thinking of cocktails around the pool…
Tip 4—There’s a common myth that Miami is warm. Even though forecasts are in the mid- to high-20s (Celsius), it gets pretty chilly in the air conditioning, so make sure to bring layers. You’ll need them inside the InterContinental. If you’re desperate, come to the UK stand to borrow our spare cardigan.
Tip 5—Cell phones (or mobiles in Old English) are magic. Make sure the people you are planning to meet have your number and you have theirs. There’s many a slip twixt “I’d love to meet” and “Where are you? I can’t find you. What do you look like?” We publish all the UK delegation attendees’ numbers in our brochure and on our website, which is a lifesaver. And don’t forget that WhatsApp calls are free!
Tip 6—Prep makes perfect. Make sure your assets are immediately accessible on your tablet or laptop, and label them clearly. Then check to make sure the sound is working and turned up high enough to cut through the background noise. Delegates are often noisy! Find clips briskly before the person on the other side of the table loses focus.
Tip 7—Myth-busting: The elevator pitch… On the brief but valuable journey to the rooftop bar, resist the temptation to pitch your project. Say hi, be friendly, maybe tell them what you do, and aim to get a business card before your face gets trapped in the closing doors.
On the other hand, always pitch in the restrooms. Commissioners and buyers really like this because it’s such an efficient use of their valuable time. It also forms a special bond they will never forget. (You know about the dry and sarcastic British sense of humor, right?)
Tip 8—Myth: There is no such thing as a free lunch. Wrong! At Kidscreen Summit there is, and it’s good! So use your time (and free food) wisely by sitting next to some new people and finding out what they do. You never know where the next opportunity lies.
Tip 9—Keep up! Audience habits, platforms, sources of funding— the whole industry is changing so rapidly, not to mention that people are always on the move. Get on top of the intel by reading the mags and blogs (especially Kidscreen’s Daily newsletter). Get to know your clients by watching their channels or browsing their catalogues. And listen—at the conference and in conversation—to their perspective on what’s happening.
Tip 10—Come and see us at the UK@Kidscreen stand in the Delegate Lounge. We’re surprisingly friendly and great to do business with. There’s an amazing array of skills, talent, IPs, projects and partnership potential in the UK group. UK@Kidscreen is supported by the Department for International Trade, whose representatives on our stand can advise on the best routes into partnering or investing in the UK. Last year, the UK@Kidscreen group reported more than US$54 million of confirmed business from meetings at the event. So it could be worth coming along to say hi—and you might even get a cup of tea.